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Kate Bush - Before The Dawn CD (album) cover

BEFORE THE DAWN

Kate Bush

Crossover Prog


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chopper
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars WOT NO DVD?

Finally we get to see a release of the 2014 Kate Bush concerts, but it's the audio recordings not the film that a lot of people were hoping for. There are various rumours as to why the DVD is not being released but Kate says it's been archived and may be released at some point, so we have to make do with this for now. It's the whole show in 3 acts - act one is various Kate songs, perhaps not the ones some people were hoping for with a few favourites (Running Up That Hill, Hounds of Love) and one or two surprises (Lily, Joanni and Never Be Mine which was not included in the final show), act two is the complete Ninth Wave suite with the addition of a couple of spoken monologues, act three is A Sky of Honey (with new song Tawny Moon sung by Bertie) plus the two encores of Among Angels and Cloudbusting. For those of you who were lucky enough to get tickets for the shows (like me) may still be yearning to see the show again as it was such a visual treat (and there was a lot going on with little surprises here and there which you could easily miss) but we'll have to make do with this. The sound quality is brilliant, audience participation is kept to a minimum, the band (including David Rhodes and John Giblin) are brilliant and Kate's vocals are spot on, no sign of ageing. I'm not going to review every song as fans will already know them. Of special note is a brilliant version of "The Morning Fog" which has been slowed down and was the highlight of the concert for me. The previously mentioned "Tawny Moon" is a new song - Bertie's vocals are already being slated on various forums but to me he does a fine job for his first live performance. To sing in front of a packed Odeon must have been daunting for him. OK, the song is a bit long and it worked better in the context of the show but it's not as bad as some people are making out. Overall this is the audio document of the greatest musical show I have ever witnessed and as such it has to be 5 stars.

Report this review (#1648760)
Posted Friday, November 25, 2016 | Review Permalink
Matti
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars I'm surprised to be only the second reviewer for this, considering the huge news value of Kate Bush having gone on stage again. One thing is sure: the fans are anxiously hoping and waiting for the DVD release of this three-act concert. (I've said this before, but I strongly prefer DVD's over live albums. And no, I didn't buy this 3-CD, just borrowed it from my library.) Even if Kate's vocals are in a good form and not notably aged, my initial reception was slightly disappointed. The first disc [39:34], or Act One, contains seven unrelated tracks from the albums Red Shoes, Aerial and Hounds of Love ('Never Be Mine' from The Sensual World was recorded when the show was being filmed without the audience). The selection is not very good IMHO, and it's sad that many great albums in her discography were totally excluded. The other reason for my negative feelings was the way the performances are mostly just uninspired replicas of the studio versions.

Act Two: an extended version of "The Ninth Wave" suite that originally formed the B side of the Hounds of Love album. I can imagine the spoken-oriented extensions increase the drama level on the concert when you are/were there (I wasn't, sadly), but on audio-only they become a mere nuisance. And for the music itself, the arrangement here follows very closely the original form, meaning that a lot of sounds and vocals are not real live at all. As a listening experience this theatre-oriented performance is a bit frustrating in several ways, hopelessly losing to the superb original without really adding new MUSICAL ideas. The happy final part, 'Morning Fog', offers the band a good opportunity to blow some extra life into the playing, but, even if it's the one that differs most clearly from the original, it sounds somewhat lame here. The line-up is top-notch: David Rhodes, John Giblin, Jon Carin, Omar Hakim, etc. After listening to two CD's I felt disillusioned.

Act Three: "A Sky of Honey", ie. the suite of the 2nd disc of the 2005 Aerial album. During this 73-minute disc my reception turned for the positive. Maybe it's because the music of this suite is airier, softer -- less "artificial" if you know what I mean -- , the live performance of it functions extremely well. Finally the band finds its real strength. Already the 'Prologue' part contains extensions that are musically inspired, and the suite becomes a cathartic listening experience, even more so than it was on the album. The new song 'Tawny Moon' is sung by Kate's son Bertie (whose name I fail to find from the booklet?) and it's a very good addition to the suite. From the 2011 album 50 Words for Snow comes 'Among Angels', a beautiful melancholic piano song of the purest Kate Bush touch. And the encore piece 'Cloudbusting' is gorgeous.

The weakest part is the first act, especially being a missed opportunity in a discographical sense. Act Two made me only crave for the visual side of the performance (the pictures reveal it's awesome). Act Three finally made an impression on me, but I guess I have to rate this with "only" three stars. Hopefully the DVD will be released some day.

Report this review (#1695084)
Posted Tuesday, February 21, 2017 | Review Permalink
4 stars Ms Bush's 2014 concerts sold out so quickly it broke the internet. The luckies who scored a ticket received a lavishly produced and impeccably staged conceptual art rock-theatre piece. This huge set records the concerts over eight sides of vinyl. It is a lot of music. The repertoire is drawn from Kate's later albums'no Wuthering or Babooshkering here'and features lots from 2005's Ariel. Given how strong that album was, the selections are no bad thing. Short segments of spoken work add drama and make the theatre overt. Playing is outstanding throughout, the sound is extraordinary for a live recording and the album packaging is lavish and interesting. Immersing yourself in the Bush of live ghosts is a mesmerizing experience. www.vinylconnection.com.au
Report this review (#1719219)
Posted Tuesday, May 9, 2017 | Review Permalink

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